The original line-up was formed by Nicholas Stuart, Matthew Reetz, Michael Ziemann, and Jon Jon Fries in 2006 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Each had previously been a part of indie-rock band Number One Fan. Shortly after the recording of their debut album, Michael Ziemann left the band and was replaced by Hugh Masterson.
Their debut album Golden Daze, released on Universal Republic in 2007, was written in Matthew Reetz's hunting cabin in north woods Wisconsin. It was produced by Greg Fidelman (U2, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash) & engineered by Greg Gordon (Oasis, JET, Hot Hot Heat). The album was reviewed by David Fricke in the January 24, 2008, issue of Rolling Stone
The Wildbirds spent only 6 months on tour before taking an undefined hiatus in early 2008. Stuart relocated to Baton Rouge, Lousiana, and then to Portland, Oregon. Fries moved to Woodstock, Illinois, where he pursued other musical interests. Reetz settled back in Appleton, Wisconsin, with his wife, Emily. Masterson spent time traveling between New York, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, and Wisconsin.
In February 2010, singer Nicholas Stuart announced The Wildbirds were once again active with an entirely new line-up. Stuart had reconnected with Masterson and moved to Milwaukee to begin writing music. The result, a 6-song EP entitled "Sunshine Blues", was released on July 22, 2010.